Thanksgiving has always been a time for reflection.  I guess it has something to do with the fact that my birthday circles it or it circles my birthday, this or both.  Either way, it’s that time a gain.

I moved here on October 1, 2008, which means this is my fifth anniversary of Halloweens, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  I wrote a piece on my first year here and feels like its time to check in and see what I’ve accomplished and what I haven’t, along with what there is still to do.

The first year was spent getting my footing.  I had no job and was living on a friends couch.  Not what you would call ideal at 40.  I left a good job, an apartment I loved and a brand new car.  The number one question one gets asked is, why did you move here?  Best opening line/conversation starter and the most New York thing you can do.  Me? Like most people they want to change and or reinvent themselves.  I wanted adventure, change, attend culinary school, to grow as a person and live somewhere else, other then where I grew up.  A.K.A., get out of dodge.

Over the years there have been many ups and downs.  These are to be expected.  But what is not expected is which ones they are.   I have really grown to like living in Brooklyn. There’s so much here, that honestly no one needs to ever go to Manhattan.  Would I live in Manhattan again. Yes.  My small stint in Hells Kitchen was just a taste.  And it still lingers in my mind.  How resilient I am, surprised me and made me stronger and more secure in myself.  Do I still have insecurities? Yes. Too many to count. But I am tough and can get through what I need to.   NY teaches you that or you leave.  I call this place the most conveniently inconvenient place to live.

I have come to travel more then ever in my life. From up and down the eastern seaboard to New Zealand and back.  I can’t wait for the next adventure.  I’m in a relationship that has also tested my strength, tolerance, patience, challenged my creative side, opened me up to be silly and expanded my ability to love.  Not bad considering I was no where near wanting or needing a relationship when I came here.

My friendships and family are stronger then ever and I wouldn’t change them for the world.  From landing with no job and couch surfing to my first Halloween in the emergency room and getting stitches from bashing back gay bashers, to having more jobs in five years then in the last twenty and knowing I can walk into almost any job and get it done, I can truly say, I am a New Yorker.  In as many ways as I have grown I feel I have a lot more learning, sacrificing and good times to come.  Life is a series of challenges and not all are fun and clear as to their objectives, but I am ready to march on and see where it takes me.  Like the song says. “I will survive.”  Or, as we say here, welcome to New York.